Stories have historically come from predictable places. They are born from classic novels, cinematic masterpieces and tales passed down from generation to generation—they do not come from jewelry. However, Tessa Packard, a London-based designer whose debut label launched in April of last year, does just that. Within each of her refined pieces lives a tinge of edge in which narratives begin to take shape when read with the rest of the collection. Her lines vary from No Smoke Without Flowers, inspired by 19th century Chinese opium dens, to Mexicana, jewelry made up of geometric Aztec shapes. Each piece holds its own, yet tells a story when joined with its colorful yet classic partners.
With the success that Packard now enjoys due to her innovative jewelry collections, it is difficult to believe that she is a completely self-taught jewelry designer. Born in Brazil and raised in Britain, Packard studied Fine Art and History of Art throughout school before springing into the London commercial art world. However, something was missing after four years in galleries—she missed designing the fashion accessories she had done as a teenager. “I really missed being creative, and that urge I had when I was tiny for being a jewelry designer began to kind of creep in and manifests itself in the sense that I really couldn’t think about doing anything else,” Packard told The Shop at Bluebird. After spending 2012 into 2013 becoming her own businesswoman and preparing to launch her first collection, Tessa Packard London was born.
Still, it was no walk in Hyde Park. “I literally knew no one in the fashion world, so to begin with I had to make a lot of contacts,” she continued. “I spent the first 6 months meeting people, making connections, meeting press to show my face and show them sketches of where I was coming from.”
Her newest collection, Predator/Prey, which launched this year, proves that Packard certainly feels no need to mimic past designs. Featuring vivid gold and black, her jewelry incorporates contemporary shapes in ingenious designs including honeycomb rings and earrings, bees perched on top of gemstone rings and bright, dynamic bracelets mixing contrasting shapes.
So where does Packard draw her inspiration from? As with all dynamic artists, her designs can’t be defined by one source, but instead, are drawn from the culture, history and nature surrounding the narrative she wishes to tell. She creates her pieces with ideas of alluring fabrics, inventive architecture and antique ornamental objects made up of varying colors, form and composition. “I started looking at how you could translate the forms or the colors of the shapes into jewelry,” she explained. A believer in making all things locally, her designs are also entirely “homemade,” or manufactured and hand-finished by United Kingdom workshops.
So what will Packard come up with next? It could be drawn from anything from a misunderstood beast to a sparkling sweet in a candy shop. We’ll certainly be keeping our eyes peeled for what this up-and-coming artist has in store for the jewelry world.